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Prehab and Rehab Care at Orlando Health-Health Central Hospital

Back or neck pain can permeate every move we make. When pain won’t go away, physical therapy often can bring much-needed relief. Orlando Health – Health Central Hospital Rehabilitation Services helps people before and after surgery regain mobility and strength, with the goal of increasing their level of function and returning to work and sports.

People with back and neck pain often think they should rest or are told to stay away from activity. But that can create a vicious cycle: inactivity leads to weakness and poor posture, which can lead to pain. Pain and discomfort lead back to inactivity. This is called “Deconditioning Syndrome.” Many of those who come to Orlando Health – Health Central Hospital Rehabilitation Services with spinal issues are very deconditioned. Increasing the level of activity with an exercise program that is tailored to address specific needs is a proven way to reach patient’s goals.

Rehab (or “Prehab”) Tailored to Patient’s Needs

When a patient comes to the rehabilitation service, they may be preparing for surgery at Orlando Health’s NeuroSpine Center of Excellence within the same week or for surgery that is scheduled several weeks later. A patient also may come in post-surgery or for therapy sessions that do not involve surgery. The treatment plan varies, depending on the patient’s needs.

For someone who has surgery scheduled within the week, rehabilitation is thought of as “pre-habilitation,” with the focus on helping prepare for the surgery and those first days post-surgery. The rehab session, physical therapists explain what to expect after surgery and how to get in and out of bed on the day of surgery. Patients are expected to walk on the same day as surgery to increase blood flow and strength, while decreasing the risk of blood clots.

When a surgery is scheduled four to six weeks in the future, a strength and conditioning program can help a patient get in better shape, particularly by increasing core stability. While many people think of core exercises as those you do to get flat abs, strengthening the core actually engages the muscles of the lower back as well as the abs to make the core stronger.

In the first weeks post-surgery, particularly after a lumbar fusion, the treatment focuses on increasing activity through walking. Depending on the type of surgery, a patient may have certain limitations such as limiting bending and twisting. The physical therapy sessions also will address any other issues of strength or flexibility, such as limited hip mobility.

Preventing Pain with Good Posture

Mom was right, don’t slouch. Many of our aches and pains are due to poor posture. One of the main culprits is the use of mobile devices. Spine specialists say neck and back pain are increasing because we often look down to check texts and emails. When your head is upright, it weighs about 10 to 12 pounds, but when you look down, the stress on the spine increases. When you’re looking down at a 60-degree angle, your head effectively weighs 60 pounds!

Doctors suggest holding cell phones near eye level to avoid bending the neck, using two hands and two thumbs when texting to be in a more symmetrical position, and doing stretches and exercises that give the back and neck a break while strengthening neck and shoulder muscles.

In addition to poor posture, many don’t use good techniques when lifting heavy objects, don’t have good posture when sitting or standing, or carry heavy backpacks that eventually can lead to back pain.

Tips on Maintaining Good Posture

  • Sit straight in a chair
  • When driving, use a back support at the curve of your back
  • Change your position often when seated
  • Lift objects by keeping your back straight and bending at the knees and hips
  • Sleep with a pillow under you head but not under your shoulders and maintain the curve in your back
  • Stay active by walking and doing other exercises


If you have back or neck pain that is severe or that lasts more than a few days, visit a physical therapist at Orlando Health Rehabilitation Services. In Florida, patients can go to physical therapists for 30 days without a doctor's prescription.

Are you interested in learning more about Orlando Health's NeuroSpine Center of Excellence?

Individuals suffering from back pain need look no further than the NeuroSpine Center of Excellence at Orlando Health – Health Central Hospital. With the only Joint Commission-certified spine surgery program in Central Florida, the center offers highly effective noninvasive treatments and minimally invasive spine surgery for complex neck and back issues.

Learn More Here

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